In the next decade virtually every brand in the world will be represented on the Internet. In this future, online identity will be a conglomerate of profiles ranging from Twitter to Facebook, from Instagram to Twitch, from Pinterest to YouTube, from TikTok to LinkedIn and so on, known and yet unknown.
Nowadays, it seems that companies are striving to strengthen their visual identities and shorten their names, as logos and branding increasingly need to work across multiple platforms, even on mobile devices; this seems to be the logic behind so many changes.
The impact this has and will have on the choice of the name of each brand and on the development of the identity will be enormous. Shortening, synthesizing, reducing, shrinking, simplifying names is once again revolutionizing the world of branding.
We saw Apple Computer become Apple, Hewlett-Packard become HP, Kentucky Fried Chicken become KFC, the Huffington Post become HuffPost, Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices become Starbucks, Wal-Mart become Walmart, Tesla Motors become Tesla….
Your brand name is the first thing an employee or potential customer will hear about your company and should be carefully considered.
The importance of your brand name cannot be underestimated.
Some people believe that it doesn’t matter what you call your company, as long as you have great products or services to offer. However, your brand name can have a significant impact on everything from marketing to profitability.
How people perceive your brand depends largely on what they hear when they first hear about it.
The name can have a significant impact on your company’s success in terms of marketing, advertising and profitability, so make sure it’s the right one.
The right name can create a unique business identity, but the wrong one can ruin it, along with your chances of success.
Since most businesses now require an online presence, it is also important to consider the availability of domain names that stand out and clearly reflect what your company stands for and offers.
Acortar: (To shorten).
1. tr. To decrease the length, duration or quantity of something. U. t. c. intr. and c. prnl.
One of the big trends we are currently seeing in relation to brands is the one that directly affects their names. Seen in perspective, this market of excess and abundance affects all brands equally. The market is complex and what makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow, but the big question for your brand is: What is the right brand name?
Do you create trends or follow those created by others?
This trend can be summarized in 5 brand groups:
1.- Symbol without its name. This is the case of brands such as Starbucks, Nike, Shell or Apple. The brain can see and interpret an image at a speed of 13 milliseconds. Since it processes an image much faster than a text, helping the brain to recognize us before the rest helps.
2.- Shorten your name. Like Mini Cooper to Mini or Christian Dior to Dior or Citibank to Citi. Nickelodeon to Nick. American Express to Amex or Federal Express to FedEx. Pizza Hut and Radio Shack now “The Hut” and “The Shack.” Even the iconic Y.M.C.A., more than 170 years old, changes its name to “the Y.”
3.- Acronyms. For example, Instituto de Empresa, now IE, or Ernst & Young, now EY, or Jones Lang Lasalle, now JLL, or New York University, now NYU.
4.- No vowels. From Mango to MNG. Reebok to RBK. Twitter, before it was launched it was going to be called “twittr”, it was going to start from the end and not from the beginning.
5.- Radical change. Examples such as Philip Morris to Altria. Andersen Consulting to Accenture. Kraft Foods to Mondelez. Just to mention a few.
Then there are isolated cases, such as the curious case of Coca Cola that is neither Light nor Zero, which the vast majority call “normal” Coke.
Your brand name helps you stand out from the crowd.
Today there is an abundance of businesses created by entrepreneurs. Your business name is how your customers will initially identify you. So, if you have a unique and memorable business name, you will be way ahead of the competition.
It is interesting to re-confirm that almost everything new is old. It looks new but it is not. Or to put it another way, very little of what is new is new.
We have already seen such trends in the past, for example: Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation renamed to International Business Machines (IBM) in 1924!
Or the Korean-based company Lucky Goldstar, which shortened its name to “LG” in 1995.
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company becoming 3M. Procter & Gamble synthesizing into P&G, Integrated Electronics into Intel, or Svenska Aeroplan Aktibolaget SAAB.
Every day we learn something old.
Many simply do it because they copy. They do not analyze their strengths, or their objectives, but their strategy is to “copy” trends.
Some have done so as an imperative need to adapt to digital. Where less is more.
Others have had to do it to use friendlier links. Others because of the globalization and internationalization of their business.
Others because Twitter and other social networks “forced” them to do so.
The essential thing is that they are not just aesthetic makeovers of the digital era.
There are specialists who believe that a brand with the potential to be shortened will ultimately be unconsciously abbreviated and simplified in the consumer’s mind.
Others believe that using the “diminutives” could be trying to make the brand sound less pretentious, more informal and friendlier than it would sound without it.
Some consider that names acquire meaning, not create meaning. Thus, once meaning is established, the brand name can be reduced to a shortened version of itself.
The customer and the potential customer are time poor. They are information rich and time poor. It seems that brands consider that shortening the name is enough to improve their perception among them.
It seems that what companies like IBM did almost a century ago is once again gaining traction among companies.
All trends are easy to understand, once discovered.
The point is to discover them.
Probably all opinions and points of view apply to this trend, but surely the best explanation is that a brand is a living organism, in permanent evolution and development. Shortening its name does not necessarily affect the perception of it, but the opposite can happen.
In short, shortening names is nothing new. For decades, brands have been shortening their names.
We live in a new world, where the “old” comes back with force, for different reasons, different circumstances and different problems.
What should be maintained is the need to move away from clichés, to stand out and not to fit in, to have creative thinking and courageous management.
Thinking and acting differently is imposed again, although the essence remains the same.
Naming a brand is one of the most important things a company does, yet many people simply go for what “feels good” or “likes” without further ado.
Any of the 5 groups of this trend can be useful for your brand strategy, as long as you are clear about what brand you are, who you are talking to, and above all, where you are targeting and where you want to go.
Always flexible with the situation, but consistent with your DNA.
Stopping following the crowd and creating new trends won’t be easy for your brand, but it will be worth it.